There is nothing like drinking a cup of bitterness to start your morning. I love drinking bitterness in the morning. It gives that energy jolt and puts me in a productive, contemplative state. While I consumed physical bitterness, I would contemplate all the reasons why I should not allow myself to be consumed by bitterness. Toward people, the world, life. We have many reasons not to be consumed by bitterness people! And many reasons to consume bitterness in the form of a steaming hot cup of coffee!
I almost decided not to review this. For one, I bought this AGES ago. It's like reviewing Adele's latest album (which came out in 2015 y'all) and people are like...that's nice. Where have you been. But I've been seeing it around the shelves still. Consider this your warning NOT to buy it. What????
Let me explain myself.
Disclaimer #1: It must have been sometime during September or so that I picked this up - only because some of my friends have been to Malawi and were curious. I don't think this is part of the permanent line of coffees - it was advertised as a micro-lot. Considering that however many months later I can still find this lurking on the shelves (from the same lot! The same best-by or use-by date!), that's not a good sign. Good things - really good things people go crazy about - tend not to stick around at TJ's for very long.
Disclaimer #2: I only started drinking this intentionally maybe a few weeks ago in a conscious effort to finish the coffee by the use-by date (1-29-17) as part of a pseudo New Years resolution to not waste food. I proudly finished a few days ago.
Disclaimer #3: So I tried to guess what the notes of this coffee were without looking at the packaging. AND I WAS TOTALLY WRONG. Well, I kind of guessed citrus, like I know what I'm talking about. Hmm...no, I don't. Homegirl still lacks the coffee vocab and a palette sensitive enough to detect the difference between florals and citrus. Whatever. I accept it. My frame of reference for coffee remains the same.
Here's my scale:
1) Delicious and should only be taken black (which for me means a medium, sometimes medium dark roast with chocolate-y notes)
2) Good. Drinkable black but some milk doesn't hurt.
3) Too light, too fruity, too acidic for me - but it might be high quality and drinkable black for sophisticated coffee drinkers
4) Charbucks. Almost everything tastes burnt.
5) Dark water. Requires some definite doctoring to be palatable. Dunkin Donuts and American Auto Tire falls into this category for me.
I put this somewhere between #1 and #2, not quite my usual kind of coffee but enjoyable. It was decently smooth and pretty good brewed with a French press. Then again, just about everything brewed in a french press comes out delicious. It wasn't too bitter. It had enough complexity to be interesting, but it wasn't mind-blowingly delicious where I would highly recommend that you go out and pick his up for $7.99 and consume all of the beans in the next week. But glad to know that Malawi does produce some decent beans, that hopefully can meet the right roastery, the right buyer, the right grinder, and the right brewing method.
TL:DR: Trader Joe's Fair Trade Malawi Coffee. I smile fondly at the prospect of supporting the warm heart of Africa. This was decent. 6 out of 10.